Returning to the Heart

Thank you so much to those of who were following along on my journey in the hospital last week. I was admitted for three days and given all sorts of tests which came up clear, which was great news. They released me to the care of my primary care physician and a neurologist. So far most possibilities have been ruled out, but the numbness in my arm and my legs persists. 

In the end, the doctor asked me if I was experiencing anxiety or depression. I realized that while I became pretty good at taking care of myself before I had a family, becoming a mom, getting married, and working have really put my own well-being on the back burner. Maybe I wasn’t monitoring myself as much as I needed to be. Or maybe there is an underlying physical cause for this strange numbness.

Either way, I’m going to work on paying more attention to my heart, something I’ve done a lot of in my life but could always use more practice with. It’s easy for me to overthink and approach life through my mind only, especially when I’m stressed or I’m down about the state of the world. It takes time and awareness to remain centered in one’s heart, but it doesn’t have to be hard. It’s a muscle that strengthens with time and attention.

I have my follow-up appointment this morning, and we’ll see what they say. This weekend I’m also going to my acupuncturist whom I haven’t seen in a long time. I’ll be interested to hear what he thinks!

I’ll keep you posted. Hope you have a beautiful day!

Being Kind

Being kind to others is a gift we give to the world. Small kindnesses can add up to a lot in a world that can be painful or unfair. I love to perform “random acts of kindness,” but I also practice being kind to everyone I meet – when possible. Sometimes when I’m stressed or processing something I’m less able to focus on bringing kindness to others. But the majority of the time, I practice sharing kindness with others by being present, genuine, and attentive. I smile from my heart and look each person I meet in the eye, seeing past external appearances in the essence of each person. Sometimes I have paid for tolls or lunches. It’s a fun way to live.  

Respecting the Beliefs of Others

One of my favorite parts about being American is the importance placed on freedom of religion. I love that people are free to practice and believe in whichever way they wish, and I love that I have been able to explore many types beliefs freely and openly. Over the years I have come to have some pretty strong beliefs about God. While part of me wants to make everyone believe the same way I do, I’ve found a lot of joy in the many pathways to God. We can love and respect one another and still believe different things. It’s a beautiful path.

Forgiving Small Slights

The people around us are only human. We are also only human! From time to time, people may say or do something hurtful, such as saying a harsh comment, forgetting to invite you to something, or any number of things. It’s ok to forgive them. In fact, it’s excellent to forgive them. Jesus said we should forgive others “70 times 7 times,” a symbolic number meaning endlessly.

For much of my life I’ve been a silent grudge-holder, remembering many slights from others and secretly replaying them in my mind. That doesn’t lead anyone to love or peace or friendship, and only left me exhausted. Now, I’m working on just letting it go. I let it go because I love myself, and I am learning that nothing anyone says or does can diminish me in God’s eyes. 

If someone says or does something that offends, forgive them. If someone accidentally hurts you today, let it go. Return to your center and to love. We are all here working out our own difficulties and walking our own paths. Remember the times you may have offended others, and how kind it felt if they forgave you. Let yourself be this beacon for another and forgive them. Restore your heart to love and see past the foibles of others.

Bringing Who You Are into your Daily Life

After I had a beautiful experience of the Divine, the daily world seemed really awful. I didn’t like it. I wanted to leave it. I could not see all the beauty of God in the world around me. Over time, I’ve learned to see beyond appearances into the divine light within – most of the time. OK, a lot of the time. At least, definitely more than some of the time! I’ve also gotten better at connecting to love and God in my heart and bringing that into my world instead of letting the world overtake me. 

Learning to keep this experience of God in my life alive has been a long climb, and I still work on it every day. I still struggle with understanding how such beauty and love can exist and not always be found around us. I still struggle with understanding how people can harm one another after seeing all the love they truly are beneath it all. 

But I know that we are love. And I have come to believe that the best way of keeping that love lit up is to bring it into my own life each day. I can’t wait for the world to learn to love. I have to be that every day for myself and for those around me. Then I can keep that experience rippling out into the world. You are love, and I am love, and all we are is love. I wish you a chance to be love for yourself and for others today.

The Next Step

In tragedy or in triumph, whether you’re building something beautiful or repairing something broken, often all we need to do is to take the next step. When I’ve been in very difficult situations and very lost, it was easy to see a big world in front of me, become overwhelmed, and just shut down. Conversely, when I’m working towards making something I care about, I can get ahead of myself, become anxious, and also shut down. 

The next step is right in front of you. Don’t make a situation more daunting than it needs to be. Just take the next step, whatever it may be. Hopefully, it will be easy for you to discern what the next step is, for whatever is occupying your mind and energies. If not, as always, get still and quiet, then listen to what arises from within. Once you know what that step is, call on your resources, support system, angels, and everything you may need to help you. Then go for it. 

Taking the next step in front of you is a way of keeping your mind on your present situation, rather than on an ambiguous and amorphous future. You don’t need to get overwhelmed. Stay right here, with your feet on the ground. Figure out what your next, reasonable, doable step is, and take it.

Accepting Your Life

Accept your life as it is, right now. Appreciate the things you have already. Be thankful for the many blessings in your life. Allow the things you are grateful for in your life to blossom and grow. It can be easy to worry and to see the worst in the world. Look deeper. God is in you. God is with you. God is guiding you.

I have been practicing appreciating my life and the many blessings in it, even as I have caught myself worrying about many things in my life and in our world. Worrying does no good for anyone. It doesn’t help make things better. It doesn’t improve one’s life or the world. It leaves one in a rut. However, accepting and appreciating what you have allows your blessings to multiply. As Neale Donald Walsch put it last weekend, “when you feel good about life, life feels good about you.” You can create a positive feedback loop in your life.

Instead of worrying, love your life. Instead of worrying, take action on something that is within your reach to change. Accept what is. Appreciate the many blessings you have been given. Center yourself in your heart as much as you are able to, and your life will blossom.